A friend of Cheatham Co ACO Darrell Hooper reportedly tried to adopt a stray Doberman at the pound but was turned away. The potential adopter was told the dog was being held for a rescue group. A Doberman rescue in Knoxville is said to have pulled the dog from the pound for free and sold her for $300.
ACO Hooper says this isn’t an isolated incident, especially when it comes to purebreds and puppies, and that he’s brought his concerns to the mayor several times but nothing has changed. After his friend was prevented from adopting the Doberman, ACO Hooper angrily confronted the pound director in the parking lot:
“I questioned him. I said, ‘So we’re just a puppy mill for rescue groups? Are we just providing them products to sell?'” Hooper said. “He shook his head yes in the affirmative and again he stated to me, ‘You don’t understand the political ramifications of this.'”
The heated argument ended with ACO Hooper punching the director. He has since resigned and publicly apologized. But he still wants the county to change its protocols regarding rescue groups.
The local news contacted the director who declined to be interviewed. They also contacted the rescue group and a representative told them they would have been happy to pay the $50 fee Cheatham Co normally charges to adopters but nobody asked them for any money.
On the one hand, breed rescues offer a valuable service. They understand the breeds they rescue better than most and that may help them to make more successful matches between dogs and adopters. A breed rescue would be better equipped to handle special needs cases of their given breed since they have the expertise and resources and ideally might be more motivated to make the investment.
On the other hand, it’s hard to justify a stray dog being left to sit in a pound while an adopter is turned away. Assuming the dog faced no extreme challenges (e.g. a legally designated “dangerous dog”) and the adopter was just as qualified as the average adopter at the pound, why leave the dog in the cage to take up space needed by other homeless pets and to potentially get sick?
Cheatham Co AC’s website says:
Cheatham County Animal Control is a county government run facility that receives nearly 2200 animals a year with room to house only 50 at a time. Only four staff members clean, feed, treat, bathe, intake, answer phone, and make onsite calls for: at large, cruelty, neglect, and all other issues. The staff also works to save every animal possible with limited resources. Cheatham County is over 360 square miles and is filled with unwanted animals. Our county compliance on vaccinations, spay/neuter, and safety of animals is low. We are leading our staff and our community toward a culture change – which will take time…time our animals do not always have on their side.
It sounds like the Cheatham Co pound could use all the empty cages it can get, like most municipal facilities. But if ACO Hooper’s allegations are accurate, the pound may be keeping cages filled unnecessarily with “high value” dogs and puppies by holding them for rescues. Are other pets, particularly those whom no group could expect to sell for $300, being killed by Cheatham Co in order to make space for the white-and-fluffies being held for rescue groups?
All shelter pets have the right to live, regardless of their resale value. Is anyone in Cheatham Co advocating for the right of all the animals in the shelter to live, political ramifications be damned? There seems to be a need.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)